2018 Vaughan Honouree
Rossana Di Zio Magnotta, CEO of Magnotta Winery, has found her life’s calling in fighting for Lyme disease sufferers, with the establishment of the G. Magnotta Foundation’s landmark partnership with the University of Guelph to create the G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab at the university in June 2017. She is very touched and grateful for the support received to make this happen.
Giving back is in Rossana’s DNA. When she was young, she loved research and discovery, and became a medical laboratory technologist. Rossana and her husband later opened a family winery, beginning a new career as winemakers. Rossana soon realized her real passion lay in giving back.
Lyme disease had devastated her family and Rossana’s diagnostic knowledge helped her understand this tick-borne disease and how it’s 100% curable when diagnosed and treated quickly. Her life journey has come full circle with her involvement in Lyme disease and her goal to establish Canada’s first facility dedicated to research, testing, and treatment of this terrible illness.
In 2017, the new Humber River Hospital honoured Rossana’s lifelong work in healthcare by dedicating its pediatric outpatient waiting room in her name. Invited to inscribe a message of her choosing on the plaque, she wrote:
Dear children, as you grow from infancy to young adulthood, may your path be filled with kindness and love, curiosity and spirit, courage and resolve. Remember the words of Christopher Robin: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Philanthropy is a selfless act, something you do because you want to be an agent for change. That’s what happened when Rossana’s husband, Gabe, became ill with Lyme disease. Undiagnosed and untreated for years due to lack of understanding then, and after a courageous battle, Gabe died. Something had to be done.
Nothing is more important than knowing that you’ve touched people who couldn’t fight for themselves. Rossana has seen firsthand the desperation of Lyme patients as they shared their stories. She’s heard from their caregivers, spouses, and family members, and is touched most by the sincere appreciation expressed for the work of her foundation.
Rossana has been passionate about healthcare and is a supporter of Toronto hospitals, foundations, and charitable organizations. Today, her Lyme disease crusade work has just begun. The goal to raise ten million dollars will fund a five-year plan that will focus on developing the new research lab into a full research centre at the University of Guelph, establishing a clinic at a leading Ontario hospital, and evolving that into a Centre of Excellence for Canadian Lyme patients, while also building a collaborative national research network.